Child empathy was examined as a moderator of the relations between positive and negative parenting behavior and child conduct problems. Participants were 56 mother-child dyads (child age M = 10.8 years; 64 % male) and children were recruited with a range of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Parenting was assessed by direct observations of mothers’ praise and criticism during parent–child interactions and child empathy was measured with mother report. Child conduct problems were assessed via observation and mother-report measures, and a composite variable was created. In regression analyses, child ADHD symptoms were uniquely related to child conduct problems. Second, as hypothesized, child empathy moderated the relations between parenting and conduct problems. Mother praise was negatively related to child conduct problems at lower levels of child empathy, but this relation was not significant at higher levels of child empathy. On the contrary, mother criticism was positively related to child conduct problems at high levels of child empathy, but this relation was not significant at low levels of empathy. The results suggest that different types of parenting behavior may be differentially beneficial to children, depending on their level of empathy.